Track and Field Begins Season with Air Force Holiday Open

    Kassie Gurnell
    Kassie Gurnell

    Dec. 11, 2013

    The 2013-14 track and field season gets underway for Air Force on Friday afternoon (Dec. 13), when it hosts the third-annual Air Force Holiday Open at the Cadet Field House Indoor Track. The non-scoring meet, which is free to the public, is slated to begin at 2 p.m., with the men's weight throw.

    Meet Notes 01: Air Force Holiday Open Get Acrobat Reader

    MEET INFORMATION
    Admission is free to the Air Force Holiday Open (formerly called the Blue-Silver Open), which begins at 2 p.m., with the first of four throwing events. The long jump, pole vault and high jump are all scheduled to begin at 3 p.m., while the running events are slated to start at 4 p.m. (complete order of events is listed below). In-meet updates will be available on the Falcons' official Twitter account (@af_trackfield).

    COMPLETE SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
    2:00 p.m.: Men's Weight Throw, Women's Weight Throw, Men's Shot Put, Women's Shot Put; 3:00 p.m.: Women's Long Jump, Women's Triple Jump; 3:00 p.m.: Men's Long Jump, Men's Triple Jump; 3:00 p.m.: Men's Pole Vault, Women's Pole Vault; 3:00 p.m.: Women's High Jump, Men's High Jump; 4:00 p.m.: Mile Run, 60-Meter Hurdles, 500-Meter Dash, 60-Meter Dash, 1000-Meter Run, 300-Meter Dash, 3000-Meter Run, Mile Relay (women will compete first in all running events).

    LOOK WHO'S BACK FOR THE MEN DURING THE INDOOR SEASON
    The Air Force men return one NCAA All-American (Joey Uhle, pole vault), three Mountain West champions (Uhle, pole vault; Zach Perkins, mile run; Kobi Rex, high jump), four additional all-conference selections (Jake Spuller, 200-meter dash, 4x400-meter relay; Alex Lindsay, 800-meter run; Isaiah Bragg, 5000-meter run; Evan McDowell, heptathlon), four Academy record holders (Spuller, 300-meter dash; David Ptacek, 500-meter dash; Siotame Latu, 400-meter hurdles; William Kent, weight throw), one member of the program's record-setting 4x400-meter relay (Spuller) and three members of the 4x880-yard relay that clocked an Academy record (Perkins, Lindsay, Matthieu Caldwell).

    LOOK WHO'S BACK FOR THE WOMEN DURING THE INDOOR SEASON
    The women's team returns one member of the MW-winning distance medley relay team in Rebecca Esselstein, two additional all-conference selections (Annette Eichenberger, 800-meter run; Kassie Gurnell, triple jump), one Academy record holder (Gurnell, triple jump), one member of the Academy record-setting distance medley relay team (Eichenberger) and three members of the 4x880-yard relay squad that set a program record (Eichenberger, Esselstein, Taylor Drolshagen).

    WE'LL BE SEEING YOU
    The Air Force Holiday Open will be the first of six home meets for the Falcons during the indoor season, which will culminate with the 2014 Mountain West Indoor Track and Field Championships (Feb. 27-Mar. 1) at the Cadet Field House Indoor Track. In addition to the December meet and the conference championships, the Falcons will also host the Air Force All-Comers Meet (Jan. 11), the Air Force Invitational (Jan. 23-25), the Air Force Team Challenge (Feb. 7) and the Air Force Collegiate Open (Feb. 15).

    LEADING THE WAY
    Eight seniors will serve as team captains for the 2013-14 track and field team. Pole vaulter Elliott Beski, thrower William Kent, middle distance runner Alex Lindsay and sprinter David Ptacek were chose as captains of the men's team, while middle distance runner Annette Eichenberger, jumper Kassie Gurnell, pole vaulter Paige Shirley and javelin thrower Kim Smith were voted to serve as captains of the women's team.

    LINDEMAN CELEBRATING 25 YEARS WITH THE FALCONS IN 2014
    Ralph Lindeman is celebrating his 25th season as Air Force's head coach this season. A 12-time conference coach of the year, Lindeman has guided the men's team to three conference titles during the last four championships seasons. He is joined on the Falcons' coaching staff by returning assistants Juli Benson, Allen Johnson and Scott Steffan, first-year assistant Ryan Collins, and volunteers Bob Graf, Mark Stanforth and Ron White.

    QUICK LOOK BACK AT THE CROSS COUNTRY SEASON
    The cross country team wrapped up an impressive 2013 campaign, highlighted by a 20th-place finish from the men at the NCAA Championships. Isaiah Bragg, who became the program's first Mountain West champion, paced the men to their first national ranking since the 2005 season. Bragg and Patrick Corona earned all-conference and all-region honors on the men's side, while Hannah Everson captured both awards on the women's side. Everson, who became the first Air Force female to earn first-team all-MW accolades, was one of two all-conference honorees for the women, as Annette Eichenberger's ninth-place finish marked the first time in program history that a pair of runners finished among the conference's top 10.

    IN CASE YOU MISSED IT...
    This past August, William Kent was named a recipient of the NCAA Student-Athlete Sportsmanship Award. Kent, who was also honored with the Mountain West Hal Rothman Sportsmanship Award in June, was one of three student-athletes to receive the national NCAA honor. In addition, with a 3.98 GPA in astronautical engineering, Rebecca Esselstein earned CoSIDA Capital One Academic All-America honors for Cross Country, Track and Field in June ... the only sophomore on the 45-member women's squad ... while Jake Hawkins and Kobi Rex were named the USTFCCCA All-Academic Team.

    FOLLOW THE FALCONS ON TWITTER
    The track and field team can be found on Twitter by following @af_trackfield.

    WHAT'S ON DECK
    The Falcons, who will take time off from competition for finals and the holidays, return to action on Saturday, Jan. 11, when they host the annual Air Force All-Comers Meet at the Cadet Field House.

     

     

    Inside Track & Field